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A PCI Heart Procedure Is a Minimally Invasive Alternative to Open Heart Surgery

Elderly patient talking with male doctor.A PCI is a heart procedure which is frequently used to treat patients who are suffering from a blocked coronary artery. Also known as a percutaneous coronary intervention, this non-surgical procedure involves the insertion of a catheter into the artery through the skin, usually through the upper thigh or arm. The goal of the procedure is to open up the clogged artery and restore healthy blood flow to the heart.

As a person ages, it’s possible for a waxy substance called plaque to build up in their arteries due to a variety of genetic factors and lifestyle choices, producing a condition called atherosclerosis. When plaque hardens it can obstruct the arteries and reduce the flow of blood to the heart. A PCI procedure treats the blockage by compressing the plaque against the walls of the artery to restore normal blood flow .

Tampa General Hospital is one of the only hospitals in the area that offers PCI for heart patients experiencing a chronic total occlusion (CTO), which is a complete or nearly complete blockage of the coronary artery. This is notable because:

  • CTO has traditionally been treated through coronary artery bypass grafting during open heart surgery.
  • The complication rate for heart patients who undergo a PCI is comparable to the rate for patients who undergo a standard angioplasty.
  • The procedure can lead to improved left ventricular function and a significant reduction of symptoms.
  • The recovery time associated with the procedure is much shorter than the recovery time for open heart surgery.

Since 2008, Tampa General Hospital has maintained its position among U.S. News & World Report’s top 50 hospitals in the nation for Cardiology & Heart Surgery, and we are also accredited by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care for Chest Pain with Primary PCI. Heart patients throughout the region count on us to provide the highest standards of care at the Tampa General Hospital Cardiovascular Center.

Click here to find a Tampa General Hospital physician or call 1-800-822-DOCS (3627).